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Turning Printables Into Physical Products with Print-on-Demand


Beyond digital downloads, physical print-on-demand (POD) allows creators to effortlessly produce physical products showcasing artwork. Your designs can be printed on t-shirts, decor, apparel, paper goods and more without upfront inventory.

This comprehensive guide covers unlocking the power of POD to transform printable designs into tangible goods. We’ll explore:

  • Suitable printable categories for POD products
  • Finding the right POD manufacturing partners
  • Preparing and formatting printable artwork for production
  • Defining profitable pricing for physical goods
  • Automating order processing and fulfillment
  • Managing customer shipping and logistics
  • Driving traffic and sales to POD offerings
  • Expanding into diverse on-demand products over time
  • Fulfilling one-off custom POD orders

Follow these tips to expand printables into supplemental POD income streams while delighting customers with products featuring original art. Let’s dive in!

Print Categories Ideal for POD

POD shines for customizable art translated to:


T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, canvas shoes featuring original graphics, patterns and motifs.

Wall Décor

Framed prints, tapestries, canvases, posters showcasing paintings, drawings and designs.


Spiral notebooks, journals, planners, greeting cards decorated with unique prints.

Home Goods

Pillows, mugs, shower curtains, phone cases spotlighting artwork and scenes.

Paper Goods

Artistic invitations, stickers, notecards, bookmarks, calendars etc.

Kids Products

Onesies, backpacks, growth charts, toys with cute illustrations and characters.

Choosing the Right POD Company

Vet manufacturing partners on:

Print Quality

Request samples to inspect reproduction accuracy on fabrics, materials and products.


Smooth third-party platform selling integrations like Shopify simplify workflow.

Product Selection

Diverse product lines enable testing to identify top sellers.

Print Locations

Global print facilities reduce customer shipping costs and delays.

Order Histories and Analytics

Robust reporting on past orders, products and designs provides insights.


Quick customer service response times and production speed.


Compare base unit costs plus margins and potential revenue shares.

Prepping Artwork for POD Production

Format files for optimal reproduction:

Maximize Resolution

Use high resolution 300+ DPI source files like PDFs for sharpness.

Color Matching

Output CMYK files when possible vs RGB for accurate color reproduction.


Size for each product type like standard canvas ratios, shirt sizes etc.

Guideline Overlays

Use POD vendor templates with die lines and safe zones for positioning.

Proofs and Samples

Request test prints on actual materials before major production.

Material Limitations

Understand limitations of fabrics, ceramics and surfaces used.

Pricing Physical Printables Profitably

Account for increased costs in pricing:

Product Costs

Factor in base print vendor unit costs for each product type ordered.

Materials Premium

Charge more for high-end finishes like framed glass vs budget options.

Volume Discounts

Offer decreasing per unit prices as purchase quantities increase.

Shipping Costs

Consider shipping into product cost-plus pricing strategies.

Platform Commissions

Account for retail marketplace commissions and transaction fees.

Membership Discounts

Provide subscription buyers discounted pricing to incentivize multi-order loyalty.

Automating Order Processing

Streamline operational workflow through automation:

POD Integration

Connect printing platforms to storefronts like Shopify for automatic order routing and status updates.

Batch Processing

Queue multiple received orders before triggering print batches for efficiency.

Order Confirmations

Send automatic order confirmations detailing creation and delivery timelines.

Shipping Notifications

Sync shipment tracking IDs automatically from printing vendor when items ship.

Digital Asset Management

Maintain centralized design libraries making artwork easily discoverable for reordering.

Payment Deposits

Automatically capture partial deposits upfront before production begins.

Managing Shipping and Logistics

Balance quality and convenience:

Carrier Selection

Offer affordable USPS options along with premium shipping for faster delivery.


Use custom branded packing like tissue paper and thank you notes for unboxing experience.

Return Address

Ship from addresses close to customers rather than just your HQ to shorten transit times.

Insured Shipments

Insure high-value items against damage or loss automatically based on price thresholds.

Rework Policy

Replace immediately if damage does occur. Absorb costs as customer retention investment.

International Shipping

Simplify customs forms. Consider distributed global printing to serve regions locally.

Promoting and Selling POD Offerings

Market just like other printables:

Social Media

Organically showcase new POD products launching in dedicated posts and stories.

Influencer Marketing

Gift POD products to influencers related to your niche like crafting and home decor bloggers.


Pin lifestyle scene images featuring your POD goods in use attractively.

Retargeting Ads

Remarket to website visitors who browsed specific POD items.

Improved Website Photography

Invest in appealing visual ecommerce product photography for your POD lineup.

Smart Product Listing Copy

Clearly explain POD process, benefits, quality, and care instructions.

Diversifying Through New POD Products

Expand offerings over time:

Seasonal Selections

Release timely designs around holidays, events and cultural moments.


Group products into distinct lines around artistic styles and branding.

Product Experiments

Test lower volume runs of new products to validate demand before bigger investments.

Data-Driven Decisions

Use analytics and sales data to double down on proven top sellers.

Market Research Surveys

Ask followers for feedback on what products they would purchase.

Trend Analysis

Watch trend forecasting reports to ride rising product and style opportunities.

Fulfilling Custom One-Off POD Orders

Provide personalized service:

Customization Options

Offer tailored text, patterns and photo uploads users preview digitally before POD production.

Limited Edition OC

List truly scarce one-of-a-kind POD novelty items like signed canvases.

Rush Orders

Charge premiums for expedited production and shipping on tight deadlines.

Volume Requirements

Only produce ultra-custom one-offs above certain order minimums to ensure profitability.

Upsells During Ordering

Suggest complementary add-ons like gift wrapping and rush processing during checkout.

Manage Expectations

Set proper expectations around production time and variability for highly customized requests.


POD empowers creators to expand printable artwork into physical product sales. Choose manufacturing partners strategically. Automate order routing and logistics. Promote smartly and diversify offerings over time based on analytics. With the right workflow in place, physical print-on-demand goods can become lucrative additions to your digital printable shop.


By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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